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India to ‘educate and advise’ Maldives on China

India has urged the Maldives to return to the path of democracy.



India is to adopt a ‘three-pronged’ approach to deal with China’s presence in its neighbourhood that will include educating and advising the Maldives, according to media reports.

A presentation led by Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj took place on the sidelines of an ambassadors conference, the Hindustan Times reported Sunday.

India will “track Beijing’s activities carefully; pursue its own projects and commitments; and educate and advise neighbours on the consequences of engaging with China,” the report said, citing officials familiar with the development.

Envoys from across the region were said to be at the presentation, including Akhilesh Mishra who is posted in the Maldives.

“In the Maldives, according to the first and second officials, the presentation focused on how there was a conscious attempt by the regime in Malé to erase the Indian footprint altogether and China had gained tremendous leverage with investments, already made or in progress, in an airport, bridge, islands and port,” the Hindustan Times reported.

Ties between India and the Maldives are under pressure because of China’s growing footprint and also President Abdulla Yameen tightening his grip on power ahead of September elections.

Days ago India urged the Maldives to “return to the path of democracy.”

“It is important that a conducive atmosphere is created for holding free and fair elections in the Maldives,” foreign affairs spokesman Raveesh Kumar told reporters.

The Maldives response to India’s verbal interventions on domestic matters varies, from high dudgeon to platitudes and provocation.